Type “pedestrian” and “killed” into the Albuquerque Journal library, and these are the headlines that pop up – just since August:
“Pedestrian killed while walking along I-40 in Albuquerque”
“Pedestrian killed on I-25 identified”
“Pedestrian killed in collision on I-10 in Deming”
“Pedestrian killed trying to cross highway north of Las Vegas”
“Pedestrian dies in overnight hit and run”
“Pedestrian killed in crash at Jefferson and I-25”
“Pedestrian killed on I-25 near Santa Fe identified”
“Pedestrian killed in accident in southeast Albuquerque”
“Pedestrian killed while crossing Coors”
All were different incidents, underlining the new federal report showing New Mexico is No. 1 in pedestrian fatalities. With 74 in 2014, a rate of 3.55 per 100,000 residents, the sparsely populated Land of Enchantment is more than double the U.S. rate of 1.53 per 100,000.
Not only is New Mexico more efficient at killing pedestrians, it also is better at doing it while drunk. Alcohol was a factor in more than half the fatal pedestrian crashes here; nationally it played a role in just over a third.
Tanner Tixier, a spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department, says “the majority of our pedestrian fatalities are a result of intoxicated pedestrians walking outside of safety areas.”
Posts to the Journal online overwhelmingly call this “blaming the victim.” Maybe. But if you walk into traffic when it’s dark and you’re drunk, or conversely if you have one too many and plow down a pedestrian, then even beer goggles can’t obscure where blame should lie.
New Mexico is a state with great natural beauty and amazing outdoor recreation opportunities. Its residents – be they on two feet or four wheels – need to respect not only the laws of traffic but the laws of physics and slow down, pay attention, respect the rules of the road and either stay sober or stay put.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.